Abstract The antihypertensive effects and safety of a novel neutral endopeptidase inhibitor, SCH 42495, were investigated in hypertensive patients. A multicenter, open clinical trial was conducted in 27 patients with essential hypertension, WHO Stage I or II. Mean age was 64 ± 1 years. After 2 to 4 weeks of a placebo run-in, 50 mg twice daily, was started, with the dose increased to 100 mg twice daily, and 200 mg twice daily, every 2 weeks, if necessary, to achieve a predetermined response. Blood pressure and pulse rate were monitored every 2 weeks. Blood chemistry, plasma atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP), and plasma cGMP levels were determined before and after the 8-week treatment period. Blood pressure was significantly reduced, from 171 ± 1 100 ± 1 mm Hg to 146 ± 3 84 ± 2 mmHg ( P < .001) at the end of the 8-week treatment period. No change in pulse rate was noted. Efficacy rate was evaluated in 25 patients treated for 4 weeks or more. Efficacy rate was 44% with 50 mg twice daily, 60% with 100 mg twice daily, and 80% with 200 mg twice daily. Adverse reactions such as headaches and palpitation were observed in six patients (22.2%), with treatment discontinued in five. Significant correlation was observed between increment in plasma ANP levels and blood pressure reductions (r = −0.53, P < .05). Increase in plasma cGMP was positively correlated with increments in plasma hANP (r = 0.80, P < .001). SCH 42495 has potent antihypertensive effect associated with an enhancement of endogenous hANP and may be clinically useful as a new class of antihypertensive drug.